A team of volunteers from the New York City-based Greek America Foundation have arrived in Athens to begin their work serving numerous Greek non-profits with critical humanitarian work. The volunteers, most students aged 18 and older come from throughout the United States.
This is the first of three programs the Greek America Foundation is sponsoring in Greece this summer. While most of the volunteers have Greek heritage, it is not a requirement of participation.
The volunteer work is focused around supporting Emfasis Foundation and Bouroume, two organizations that serve homeless and food-vulnerable people; We4All, an environmental group that organizes beach clean-ups and other activities; and, Greek Council for Refugees, an Athens-based charity that supports the integration of refugees and provides services to unaccompanied refugee minors.
The volunteer program includes optional college credit from the Hellenic American University, a U.S.-accredited institution of higher learning based in Athens.
Prior to their arrival in Athens, the group participated in workshops and presentations from two pediatric psychologists who helped the volunteers prepare for traumatic situations that they may encounter while helping vulnerable people.
The program costs are funded by the Greek America Foundation, thanks to the generosity of numerous donors including a major gift from Mr. John George of New Orleans and support from additional generous donors who contributed significantly to this program’s realization: Peter Kalis, Arthur and Susan Karas, Spiro Macris, The Order of AHEPA, Bishop Demetrios of Mokissos and Darden R. Livesay Jr.
In addition to their volunteer work, the group is also raising funds to support the charity organizations they are serving with food, supplies and other necessary items.
This program will run for three weeks and will be followed by two more programs, one also in Athens and a second on the island of Chios, where volunteers will work with the children’s shelter Kivotos Tou Kosmou and Metadrasi, which operates a shelter for unaccompanied refugee minors and a children’s education center at the Vial Refugee.